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Toys Aren't All Fun and Games

BBB Advice for Giving Safe Children's Gifts

Anchorage, Alaska – Dec. 3, 2009 – With children's toys flying off the shelves this holiday season, consumers should be informed about toy hazards and safety risks before making a purchase.

Despite rigorous testing and inspection standards and 2008's Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, accidents involving toys are still quite common. However, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been 38 toy recalls issued thus far in 2009—which has decreased compared to the 162 recalls in 2008.

"When children's safety is at stake, parents and consumers can’t afford to overlook basic gift-giving protection measures," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon, and Western Washington. Better Business Bureau encourages those who are giving or donating toys to take a few extra safety steps:

Know which items have been recalled. Product recalls are in place due to the following concerns or hazards: product toxicity, lead poisoning, lacerations, high flammability, chemical burns, drowning, and choking. For a full list of toys and other children's products recalled by CPSC, please click here. More information on product recalls is available at www.recalls.gov/cpsc.html.

Return recalled toys and products. Bring the item back to the retailer before contacting the toy's manufacturer. Most toy stores have a return policy for recalled items. If not, CPSC may be able to work with the manufacturer to negotiate a refund or exchange. If a child has been hurt by a potentially faulty or toxic toy, consult a physician and contact the CPSC hotline at 800-638-2772.

Select age-appropriate toys. In the inspection process, age grading and labeling help determine the appropriate age for which the toy is intended; always abide by the age recommendation listed on the package. For children under age 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking. The Toy Industry Association can provide additional toy safety information and education.

Assist children with opening gift packages or assembling toys. Promptly dispose of balloons, plastic wrapping or packaging with sharp edges. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on batteries and chargers, which can pose burn hazards. Carefully monitor playing activities to ensure safety is not at risk.

Recycle or give away re-usable toys. Clean used toys before re-gifting; remove and recycle old batteries from battery-operated toys. Some manufacturers will accept their retired toys back and recycle them.

Don't play with your donation dollars. Give toys and make financial contributions to trustworthy organizations. Check out toy donation centers and other organizations for free at www.bbb.org/charity.

As part of BBB Foundation's ongoing support of the community and military families, BBB is now a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots donation center. Find BBB's toy drop locations in Alaska, Oregon, and Western Washington and learn more about BBB Foundation's programs, including Military Line and Charity Review.

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About BBB Foundation:
BBB Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating consumers on marketplace issues. Programs offered by BBB Foundation serve: seniors, military communities, young consumers and consumers at large. BBB Foundation also assists donors in making informed judgments and setting forth suggested standards for charitable organizations. BBB Foundation is an affiliate of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon & Western Washington.

About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington:
Your Better Business Bureau is a not-for-profit organization funded by Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. The BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. For more information about the services and products provided by your BBB, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska, or visit our Web site at www.bbb.org.

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